IN THE SUPREME COURT
STATE OF MISSOURI
IN RE: )
HAHN, JAMES W. II, ) Supreme Court # 86940
James W. Hahn II # 31728
Hahn Law Firm
2858 Professional Court
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS………………………………………………………………….1
STATEMENTS OF FACTS………………………………………………………………3
POINTS RELIED UPON………………………………………………………………. 30
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE…………………………………………………………..41
CERTIFICATION: SPECIAL RULE NO. 1 (C)………………………………………..42
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
In re Crews, 159 S.W.3d 355 (MO banc 2005)……………………………………….40
In re Tacket, 159 S. W.3d 846 (MO banc 2005)……………………………………...40
In re Waldron, 790 S. W.2d 456 (MO banc 1990)……………………………………40
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Respondent was born March 5, 1951 in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Respondent is the
oldest of four children born to James W. Hahn and Mary Hahn. Respondent’s father was
employed as a Materials Inspector with the Missouri State Highway Department. The
Respondent’s family relocated to Sikeston, Missouri where the Respondent lived until the
age of fifteen. In 1966 Respondent’s father was transferred to Cape Girardeau, Missouri
to open up a Material Inspection Laboratory for the construction of I-55. TR 11-12.
The Respondent graduated from Cape Girardeau High School in 1969.
Respondent attended Southeast Missouri University for two years and transferred to
Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Respondent received a substantial
scholarship at Indiana University and was pl aced in the MRC Program, a combination of
academic and athletic scholars and special dormitory at Indiana University. Respondent
was co founder and editor of the Journal of Undergraduate Research at MRC. TR 11-12.
Respondent concentrated on European and East European Political Science and
European History with the intent to go into the State Department or into the Central
Intelligence Agency. TR 11-12.
Respondent graduated in May 1973 with a double major in History and Political
Science from Indiana University. Respondent received full fellowship for a year of
Doctorate work in faculty of Economic History at Edinburgh University, Edinburgh
Scotland. TR 11-12.
Respondent studied at Edinburgh University under Doctor Keith Hampton.
Hampton, was then a political advisor and speechwriter for the then Prime Minister Ted
Heath. Hampton was the Conservative Party candidate in Ripon, Yorkshire. Respondent
ran Doctor Hampton’s successful Parliamentary campaign in March, 1974. Hampton
was elected to Parliament but the Labor Party won the election. Respondent returned to
Edinburgh University. TR 11-12.
In 1974 Respondent married an English/Scottish girlfriend, Elizabeth Rison, and
obtained British residency. Through Respondents wife’s family, Respondent met t he
Attorney General of Scotland. He offered Respondent a position as a Precognition
Officer at the Procurator Fiscals Office in Glasgow, Scotland. TR 11-12.
From 1974 to 1975, Respondent interviewed and prepared witnesses in fifty to one
hundred cases, including interviewing all of the witnesses in the case styled In Re
Alexander Ross McCaughey, and six others, a trial involving a series of bank robberies in
Glasgow. The seven Defendants had connections to the Ulster Defense Army, a
protestant terrorist organization in Ulster. The proceeds of the bank robberies went to
fund the purchase of explosives and automatic weapons in the United States. Respondent
assisted the two crown advocates in a course of a three and a half day trial, which
Respondent understands was then one of the longest in Scottish history at that time. TR
Respondent and wife thereafter resided in London for approximately a year. In
early 1977 Respondent began a nine-month trip through France. Respondent’s great
interest in the law was stimulated by the year that Respondent was at the Procurator
Fiscal Office. Respondent took the LSAT in London. In November Respondent and wife
returned to the United States and applied at the Washington University Law School. TR.
Respondent was accepted at Washington University Law School in 1978.
Respondent was awarded a Jurius Doctorate Degree in May 1981. TR. 12.
While studying for the bar examine, Respondent was offered a position as
Assistant Prosecutor in the Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Respondent accepted that position and began a seven and a half career as a full time
Assistant Prosecutor in Cape Girardeau. TR. 12.
During the course of that seven and a half years Respondent served under Stephen
Limbaugh, Larry Ferrell, and H. Morely Swingle. During the course of that term,
Respondent participated in fifty-six jury trials, and hundreds of bench trials, and seven
homicide cases, Respondent had the responsibility of putting on the evidence for forensic
evidence and psychiatric testimony. TR. 12.
During the course of the first two years in Cape Girardeau, Respondent also taught
evening courses for graduating Criminal Justice Majors at Southeast Missouri University.
Respondent also taught a new Political Science Introductory Course for freshman
students in 1997. Respondent regularly lectured at the Southeast Missouri Police
Academy. In 1997 the regional ATF Office contacted Respondent and asked Respondent
to attend the ATF Arson for Prosecutors School at Glencoe, Georgia. After Respondent
completed the ten day arson and bomb course, and Respondent was “on call” Prosecutor
to handle the suspected arson cases throughout Southeast Missouri. Respondent and
Morely Swingle co-authored a Missouri Bar Journal article in 1982.
In 1996, Morely Swingle, Judge Dolan and Respondent applied for a Federal
Grant to start the first Drug Task Force for Southeast Missouri. The first meeting was
held in Respondents living room with two Cape Girardeau Police Officers, a Bollinger
County Deputy by the name of John Jordan, currently the Sheriff of Cape Girardeau
County, and Corporal James Keithley with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He is
currently Major Keithley in charge of the Highway Patrol Drug and Crime Division.
After a two-year investigation, raids resulting in the arresting of thirty-six individuals in
six or seven Counties in Southeast Missouri resulted. The investigation resulted in the
Missouri Highway Patrol taking over the task force, and it became the model for the rural
task forces across the State.
In 1981 or 1982,Respondent participated in a task force of the Prosecutors and the
Attorney’s General’s Office in revising the driving while intoxicated statues of Missouri.
The proposed provision eliminating t he Doctor/Patient privilege under Chapter 491 for
drunk drivers, suggested by Respondent, was thereafter adapted by the Legislature. In
1987 Respondent was asked to testify before Senator Sharp’s Committee on Domestic
Violence. Revising the Adult Abuse Statues. Respondent recommended enhanced
punishment for multiple offenders and that particular provision was thereafter adopted.
In 1990, after Respondent had left the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Respondent
was asked by Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney, Morely Swingle, to appear
and testify on Governor Wilson’s commission on crime. Lt. Governor Wilson thereafter
requested Respondent to draft legislation for new crime victim compensation statue.
Respondent testified before Senator John Dennis committee, and the legislation was
thereafter signed into law by Governor Mel Carnahan. It was thereafter repealed.
In 1987, Respondent joined the Cape Girardeau Law Firm of Thomas Dickerson,
Gilbert and Cook, an established personal injury and insurance defense firm in Cape
Girardeau, Missouri. Respondent participated in personal injury, product liability, gas
explosions cases and in insurance defense work. TR. 12. Respondent was retained by
major mutual insurance companies to investigate arson and fraud cases in the area.
Respondent maintained that practice until 1996 in his own practice thereafter.
On January 1, 1993, Respondent opened his own practice in Cape Girardeau. In
June, 2004, Respondents wife Marcia Mulcahy joined Respondents practice. TR. 12.
The firm was a general practice firm with about 60% of the cases in family law, about
one third criminal cases, and the remaining balance in business law, and some personal
injury cases. In 1997, Respondent and wife purchased a building at 2858 Professional
Court, in Cape Girardeau and maintained a partnership until 1999, when growing
differences caused us to separate our practices. Marcia Mulcahy moved to a separate
location for a period of approximately a year. Marcia Mulcahy eventually returned to t he
building, which was jointly owned, and the building served two separate law practices.
Thereafter growing conflicts and problems between Respondent and wife, from 1999
onwards lead to a divorce in 2002, and eventually after bitter subsequent litigations, in
2004, Respondent purchased the building. TR. 12-18. TR. 288-297. Respondents
practice essentially remains as it has for a number of years, though the number of cases
and staff has been purposely reduced.
Respondent served three years on the Board of Directors at the Gibson Recovery
Center, a local in-patient Drug and Alcohol treatment facility in Cape Girardeau,
Missouri. For two years ago Respondent accepted Pro Bono referrals for the Safe House
in Cape Girardeau for battered women. Respondent presently receives Pro Bono referrals
from Project Hope, an organization of approximately thirty church’s in Southeast
Missouri area, that provide long term counseling and assistance to single women with
Disciplinary Hearing Count III
(John Gaither complaint)
In June 1999, Mr. John Gaither hired Respondent to handle personal injury action on Mr.
Gaither’s behalf. Mr. Gaither was injured in an automobile accident on May 16, 1999. TR. 190-
Mr. Gaither received chiropractic treatment from a local Cape Girardeau Chiropractor
over a course of a number of months thereafter. TR. 190-202.
In August 2000, Mr. Gaither’s Chiropractor relieved him from further chiropractic
treatment. TR. 190-202.
During the course of the Respondent’s representation, Mr. Gaither was charged with a
criminal offense of manufacturing methamphetamine and thereafter entered a plea and was
sentenced to the Missouri Department of Corrections for a period of five years. Mr. Gaither
remained in the Department of Corrections until he received parole on August 27, 2002. He was
placed in Dismiss House, a half way house in St. Louis, where he remained until thereafter
moving to a half way house known as the Railton Center, operated by the Salvation Army. Mr.
Gaither currently resides at the Railton Center, and is employed by two different employers as a
welder. TR. 190-202.
Mr. Gaither has not had a cell phone or a private phone of his own at either of the above
institutions. He has communicated with the Respondent by a pay telephone at each institution.
The Respondent has returned the telephone calls by leaving messages with the desk of each
respective institutions. TR. 190-202.
Respondent has a number of telephone conferences set by prior arrangement with John
Gaither to discuss his medical condition. Mr. Gaither sole Medical Records consisted of a report
by Doctor Degan, the Cape Girardeau Chiropractor. Doctor Degan advised Respondent that his
X-Rays of John Gaither were “unremarkable” when providing t he medical report to the
Respondent. Mr. Gaither advised the Respondent in the initial consultation in 1999 that he had
two (2) previous back injuries. In phone conversations with John Gaither after his release on
parole in late 2002, Respondent had recommended that the radiological films of Doctor Degan
should be examined by a physician and new X-Rays be taken prior to submitting a demand.
Respondent and Mr. Gaither did not have further face to face contact with Mr. Gaither
though he has made some we ekend trips to Cape Girardeau to visit his child.
In January 2004, Respondent received a complaint forwarded by the OCDC; Respondent
and Mr. Gaither thereafter had a telephone conversation. Mr. Gaither assured the Respondent that
he did not “fire me” but wanted the Respondent to get the “papers filed”. Respondent thereafter
attempted to locate the defendant in the civil case through Internet searches without success. A
Petition for Personal Injury was filed with the Circuit Court of Scott County on the Defendant
with service at a Post Office Box, a common physical location in rural Counties, rather than an
office physical post office box, as said Counties do not have “street addresses’”. A return of non
est was made by the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. The matter is currently pending in Scott
County Circuit Court. TR. 190-202.
John Gaither testified in the hearing in this matter on February 3, 2005 under
subpoena from the office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. Mr. Gaither advised that the
advisory committee that he had located the owner of the vehicle used by the Defendant;
however he was not certain he located the defendant driver; Mr. Gaither and Respondent
have continued to try to locate the Defendant by Internet searches and had had regular
telephone contact up until September 10, 2005, Mr. Gaither further testified that the
Respondent had missed “ two or three phone calls” and that Mr. Gaither had “missed two
or three phone calls”. He further advised that he wanted to wind this up so that he could
pay his medical bills. TR. 190-202.
(Making False Statements of Missouri Supreme Court and to Informant)
On July 17, 2003, Respondent appeared at Informant’s office and answered questions
posed by the Informants staff.
On August 24, 2003, Respondent entered into a diversion agreement with Informant.
With regard to the provisions of said diversion agreement, Respondent made the following
(a) Respondent has attended the Small Firm Solo and Small Firm CLE seminar from
Thursday, June 12, 2003 through Saturday, June 14, 2003. Respondent had regularly attended
said conference and he had previously focused on office practice and management, time
management, and technology seminars; Respondent was accompanied by Respondent’s Office
Manager, Laura Hulsy and her family. TR. 18-19.
(b) After the meeting of July 17, 2003, Respondent retained the services of Tim
Mellitz, a consultant and lecturer at the small firm seminar, to provide eight (8) hours of Time
Slips training to his staff, Laura Hulsy, and Shelly Ashcroft; Respondent further retained Tim
Mellitz to work on simplifying the Time Slips accounts, requiring extensive work by long
distance Internet to revise the program, and accounts, and files; Respondent further purchased an
Office Management software package, Time Matters, through Tim Mellitz; said software,
however, was not installed nor was training provided, as the office file server did not have
sufficient capacity to store the program. Mr. Mellitz char ged Respondent five thousand dollars
($5,000.00) for his consultation, and one day of training, and the Time Matters software. TR. 18-
Respondent consulted with Doctor V. S. Kameth, and received a prescription for Zoloft
and consultation on stress management;
Respondent also reviewed with the staff, office procedures on answering the telephone,
directing client communications, setting telephone and office appointments;
In the office meeting in July 2003, with the Respondent’s two staff members, various
problems concerning the staff’s increasing use of “flex” time for staff’s children’s sporting
activities, educational activities, extra curricular activities, frequent illness’s and education
conferences was discussed with the staff and it’s effect not only on the office work flow but on
meeting important deadlines, and having a qualified staff member to answer the phone and to deal
with client/office inquiries; Respondent had had significant staff absenteeism during the previous
three to four months because of the various activities that the staff members and/or their children
were engaged in; upon his return to the office after the conference of July 17, it was discovered
that a number of days in August, including heavily scheduled trial days, had been sought for time
off by the staff. After the discussion of the issues and the failure to reach a reconciliation, both of
the staff members resigned. TR. 18-19.
Respondent thereafter contacted Lacey Ullery, a case manager at the Cape Girardeau
Safe House and a Counselor there who had previously submitted her Resume and expressed an
interest in working in the law office. Respondent hired Ms. Ullery as his principle legal secretary.
Respondent thereafter hired a second counselor at the Safe House who also desired to work in the
law firm. TR. 19-20.
On the following week, the first week of August, 2003, Marcia Mulcahy, Respondent’s
former wife and former law partner, filed in the Circuit Court of Cape Girardeau County an Order
of Protection against the Respondent demanding that he be removed from the law office building
that they jointly occupied. The allegations made under oath by Ms. Mulcahy were totally false;
Respondent was restricted to the west end of the building under the Ex Parte Order of Protection.
Ms. Mulcahy had the east end of the building which included the reception and conference room
and the receptionist office where one of Respondent’s legal assistants worked. Within the next
two days Ms. Mulcahy, while the Respondent was out of the office scheduled for Court, or in the
evening, removed large amounts of office fixtures, filing cabinets, furniture, and many items of
the Respondent’s property, including business records to a location on Forest Avenue in Cape
Girardeau. Ms. Mulcahy apparently pre-planned this move with the Ex Parte Order of Protection,
as she had a rental house, a sign and her yellow page ad all prepared with the new location. She
thereafter filed a lawsuit to foreclose on a small mortgage loan owed to her parents on the building
and to take the building over as her own property. TR. 288-297.
Ms. Mulcahy changed the locks in her now empty suite, preventing the Respondent from
obtaining access to the empty suite and the temperature control for the west end of the building.
Through the month of August and the month of September Ms. Mulcahy refused to provide access
to the empty suite and would only send her secretary over to adjust the temperature once per day.
Temperature variations were as low as 65 degree in Se ptember and as high as 90 degrees in
August, requiring Respondent to daily contact Mr. Frank Seibert, Ms. Mulcahy’s attorney, to
request that the thermostat be adjusted. TR. 288-199.
Respondent thereafter was responsible for all of the utility bills, lawn care, mortgage
payments and a wide variety of bills that had not been previously budgeted for; furthermore,
Respondent, after failing to attempt to mediate the issue and facing a law suit which would result
in vacating the building, retained the legal services of Christine Kime, an attorney of Piedmont,
Missouri, and had additional significant expenses in retaining counsel; TR. 288-293.
The above law suit by Ms. Mulcahy, motivated by her desire to foreclose and acquire
approximately $170,000.00 worth of equity in the building, caused severe financial and emotional
distress on Respondent and on the staff; the parties finally agreed to submit the matters for
mediation for before the Honorable Stanley Grimm on Friday, October 24, 2003; After nine hours
of mediation, an agreement was reached for Respondent to purchase the building, conditioned on
Respondent receiving a loan guarantee from Wood and Huston Bank by Friday, October 31, 2003
by 12 noon. Considerable financial documentation had to be acquired in the two -week period and
numerous documents were submitted to the bank. Approval was finally received by fax one
minute before the 12-noon deadline. Thereafter, Respondent had to comply with additional
deadlines including removal of approximately three rooms of furniture and contents from the
former marital residence within one week, in January 2004. TR. 288-293.
From the first week of August 2003, when the above two law suits were filed,
Respondent dealt not only with his full load of cases but also trained the two new, inexperienced
staff members as legal assistants. TR. 19; TR. 288; TR. 295.
Throughout the course of August through January 2004 the new staff members entered
all expenses, client payments into the Time Slips billing program. Respondent had retained
Shelly Ashcroft, who had received the Time Slips training with Tim Mellitz, to provide training
for approximately three hours to both staff members on September 13, 2003. Ashcroft had very
limited experience with the Time Slips program and was only able to explain to the two staff
members very basic slip entry and did not have the recollection or knowledge to explain the
production of a review bill, correction of a bill, or the finalization of a bill.
In the first week of January 2004, the principal legal assistant, Lacy Ullery, advised
Respondent that she had decided that she wanted to return to counseling with children and that she
had secured a counseling position in Indianapolis, Indiana that “was the dream of her life” at a
substantial salary above the salary above the $28,000.00 that she was receiving from the
Respondent. She gave Respondent seven days of notice; Respondent’s other legal assistant, a
friend and former colleague of Ms. Ullery, advised that she as well wanted to seek a position in
the counseling area and gave two weeks of notice; TR. 19.
In January 2004, a client of the Respondent’s, Shannon Blagg, who was the Plaintiff in a
divorce case that Respondent was representing Mrs. Blagg on, came into the office and inquired
about possible employment. She advised that she desired to be a paralegal and wanted to take a
paralegal course; she advised that she had had some college and had studied criminal justice. She
was hired as a probationary employee and began work as the receptionist. TR. 20.
Respondent thereafter placed a classified ad in the Cape Girardeau newspaper advertising
for a legal assistant position. Respondent received approximately 200 responses to said
advertisement over a two -week period and scheduled five appointments on the weekend of
February 14, 2004. Of those five individuals that were interviewed, only one, Chris Leonard, had
indicated any prior law office experience; TR. 20-21.
On February 14, 2004 Respondent interviewed Chris Leonard. She advised Respondent
that she had been separated for two and a half years from her husband, Gary Leonard and resided
here in Cape Girardeau to be near to her daughter and grandchild. She was employed at Southeast
Hospital in the Women’s Care Department and was being paid $6.50 per hour doing pap tests.
She advised Respondent that she was thoroughly familiar with the Time Slips Billing program and
had been employed for four (4) years as a Legal Assistant. Based on those representations
Respondent offered Chris Leonard a position that weekend at a wage substantially higher than the
normal legal assistant would receive, $28,000.00/year. Mrs. Leonard was to start employment
with Respondent on March 1, 2004. TR. 298-299; TR. 211.
Chris Leonard was provided with a Time Slips Manual and the Time Slips program
tutorial on the computer. She began employment on March 1, 2004 and entered in the office
expenses as well as the payments for legal fees and trust account funds. These entries had been
continuously made prior to the employment of Mrs. Leonard.
After providing Ms. Leonard with two weeks of training in office procedures, on March
19, 2004, Respondent dictated two bills for Chris Leonard to enter into Time Slips and to bill.
These matters, Jenetta Crossby v Crossby and State of Missouri vs. William Colbert. TR. 297;
Leonard produced a bill in each case and the Respondent reviewed the bills. There were
eighteen (18) entries on the Colbert matter and nearly as many on the Crossby matter. Eac h hour
rate was entered incorrectly. The time entry of “15 minutes” would be entered as .15 rather than
.25 or quarter of an hour. “ 20 minutes” would be entered in as .20 rather than .33 or a third of an
hour. TR. 297; TR. 215-219.
Respondent discussed this with Chris Leonard and she clearly was uncomfortable and
clearly did not understand the decimalization entry for Time Slips. She eventually said that the
only time entry that she entered for her former employers were in “quarter hour segments”, yet
she had made errors on those entries as well in the above two bills. I asked her if she would
decimalize the time entry and she attempted to do so but clearly did not understand how to do
that. Respondent thereafter sat on the office floor and corrected each of the bills by hand and
provided Mrs. Leonard with a decimalized time list. TR. 215-219; TR. 231-233.
While Respondent’s knowledge of Time Slip’s is extremely limited, it was readily
apparent to Respondent that had Chris Leonard had the four (4) years of experience with the
program she had claimed on the interview of February 14, 2004, she would be very familiar with
the decimal entry of time. Ms. Leonard’s confused response and deportment clearly indicated to
Respondent that she was not knowledgeable of the basic slip entry for the Time Slip billing
program. Respondent was further concerned as Respondent had previously had numerous
problems with more experienced and trained legal assistants than Ms. Leonard in producing
accurate Time Slips revi ew bills and finalizing Time Slips bills. TR. 22; TR. 217; TR. 297-298;
TR. 305; TR. 313-316.
As the month of March 2004 progressed, Respondent experienced a growing number of
conflicts with Ms. Leonard. In mid March, Respondent had scheduled a 45-day review of
receptionist Shannon Blagg’s performance. Ms. Leonard, who was supposed to leave the office at
5pm, came into Shannon’s office while the Respondent was beginning that review and advised
that she was going to be present “and help you beat up on Shannon”. TR. 23. Respondent advised
Chris Leonard she was not to be present and Ms. Leonard left the office in an irritated state; TR.
23. in March 2004, Ms. Leonard’s purportedly estranged husband, Gary Leonard, began coming
to Respondent’s office at a quarter until 4pm or 4 o’clock pm each Friday and sitting in Ms.
Leonard’s office until her leaving time at 5:00 pm. This practice continued throughout the course
of Ms. Leonard’s employment until June 2004, despite the Respondent’s request to Ms. Leonard
to stop the practice and to focus on office tasks. TR. 27.
During the course of the training of Ms. Leonard in the first couple of weeks, Ms.
Leonard was advised that she was not to change any of the office forms, as Respondent had had
previous problems with staff members changing forms that they did not understand; TR. 24. Ms.
Leonard was also advised that the high speed cable Internet connection to her computer was not to
be utilized for any personal work at any time and that the only website that she was to utilize the
Internet for was Case Net to track Respondent’s office cases on each Monday, Wednesday, and
Friday morning. Ms. Leonard was fully advised by Respondent of the prior computer system
crashes in 2002 and in 2003 with massive data losses that were attributed by one consultant as
being virus related. Respondent advised Ms. Leonard that under no circumstances was she to use
the Internet for sites other than Case Net and the Secretary of State. Ms. Leonard, however,
continued to ignore these procedures throughout her employment. TR. 24; TR. 157-159; TR.
In mid April 2004, Respondent was in Ms. Leonard’s office to get forms for a client and
discovered a folder in Ms. Leonard’s desk. The folder contained her resume with Respondent’s
notes on it with the initial interview of February 14, 2004 that had been kept with other resumes in
a folder in Respondent’s desk drawer; also in that folder were photocopies of a bar complaint
made by a client which also was kept in a separate folder in Respondent’s desk drawer; Ms.
Leonard also had photocopies of various financial matters that were also kept in Respondent’s
desk drawer; also found was a separate folder where Ms. Leonard had her husband’s financial
bills and bank account statements as well as her own. TR. 24. Respondent examined Ms.
Leonard’s computer and found that she had installed the US Bank site for online banking and the
Internet Explorer history indicated extensive use of the computer by Ms. Leonard for a large
number of websites irrelevant to the practice of law. TR. 24. A search of the computer system
with the Spybot Destroyer software program, indicated more than 200 cookies, 6 virus’s, and a
number of spy ware software had been installed on the computer through injudicious use of it for
non legal purposes. The workstation run extremely slow, and would occasionally “drop off line”
on the Respondent’s network. I advised Ms. Leonard on Monday once again not to use the
computer for her personal business. I had a computer consultant remove many of the viruses and
Spyware as possible. The Internet Explorer program was permanently destroyed during this
process. TR. 24.
Beginning in March of 2004, and regularly thereafter, Respondent discussed with his two
employee’s, Chris Leonard, and Shannon Blagg, the necessity of daily filing of documents
produced by the staff and received into the office; TR. 25. Respondent testified that beginning
with the employment of Shannon Blagg in mid January 2004, and through February and March
the filing of office documents was not regularly attended to by the two legal assistants. TR. 25.
Respondent has also testified that the staff were trained to contact clients who were making partial
payments of minimum legal fee retainers, and that each staff member was responsible for
contacting the client on the day the payment was due to ensure payment of the fees. Respondent
has testified that despite repeated requests for the staff to contact the clients about the payments
that were put on the office calendar, the staff regularly failed to follow up on collection calls; TR.
26. Respondent testified that on April 29, 2004, an office staff meeting was held and Respondent
has advised both staff members that Respondent was dissatisfied with the staff member’s
performance in these two areas and that if significant improvements were not made that they
would no longer be employed. TR. 26. Respondent also testified that at that meeting he discussed
with Shannon Blagg, in the presence of Chris Leonard, that Ms. Blagg needed to improve her
professional deportment in dealing with clients and to limit her conversations on the phone and in
person with the clients to obtaining information from them, and to stop providing them with legal
advise for which she was not qualified; TR. 26. Respondent had cautioned Ms. Blagg about the
extent of and nature of her conversation with the clients not being appropriate for her capacity as a
receptionist; TR. 26. Ms. Blagg, had completed an unaccredited fourteen (14) hour Internet
“paralegal” certification, through Southeast Missouri University, paid for by Respondent. She
increasingly had been advising the client’s that she was the Respondent’s “paralegal” after
receiving the unaccredited certificate, (which had nothing to do with Missouri law) and had been
increasingly giving advice and taking on tasks that were outside of her competence and duties.
Respondent has testified that beside Ms. Leonard’s afternoon visits with her husband,
Ms. Leonard had requested and taken off one Friday afternoon and had had two Friday
afternoon’s of “unexplained” illnesses at lunch and had simply not returned or contacted the
Respondent. TR. 26. Respondent has testified that on Friday, June 11, 2004, Ms. Leonard asked
to talk to Respondent during a course of a week in which they had had very little conversation.
She advised that she had gotten “food poisoning” from a “bad taco” the night before at Taco Bell.
TR. 26. She then went into a curious explanation that she had contacted the manager by phone
that evening to advise him that she had gotten food poisoning but that she just wanted him to
know that and she did not want anything “free”. Respondent asked her if she was okay and she
said, “it passed this morning”. TR. 26. Respondent had a scheduled CLE at 12 noon and Ms.
Leonard and Ms. Blagg left for lunch together as usual. Upon Respondent’s return at 2 pm,
Respondent was advised by Ms. Blagg that Ms. Leonard had become suddenly ill at lunch. An
important pleading had been given to Ms. Leonard at 11 o’clock after the above conversation. It
was not prepared. Respondent contacted Ms. Leonard at 2pm. Respondent has testified that Ms.
Leonard’s words were slurred and that his opinion she was intoxicated. Respondent testified that
Ms. Leonard had on a number of occasions told Respondent upon leaving the office that she had
“a date with my boyfriend, Captain Morgan” (a cheap spiced rum) TR. 26-28.
Respondent thereafter personally drove to the three Taco Bell’s in the County and talked
to the manager’s who were on duty the night before, and learned that no such telephone complaint
was made. There was no documentation of a food related illness as required by Taco Bell
procedures. The following week, after receiving a typed statement from Shannon Blagg
confirming that she was told that there was a phone call made to the manager, Chris Leonard was
terminated from employment. TR. 27-28.
Respondent testified that from April through June, that Ms. Leonard and Ms. Blagg,
increasingly spent more time on their own personal endeavors; the staff had removed two
conference chairs from the front conference room and placed one in each of their respective
offices; Respondent would frequently return from Court, or enter the office after lunch, and find
both of the staff members sitting and carrying on personal conversation; Respondent testified that
after the meeting of April 29, 2004, Respondent would inquire with both of the individuals when
these daily events occurred, if they had “done any filing”. The aforesaid employees’ would then
quickly return to their offices without any response.
Testimony of Shannon Blagg.
Shannon Blagg testified on behalf of the Informant. A sworn affidavit of Shannon Blagg
was provided to the Committee and the Respondent minutes before the hearing in this matter. Ms.
Blagg, in her affidavit, and in her subsequent testimony made the following allegations:
(a) Ms. Blagg, under oath, and apparently after careful consideration, stated in her
affidavit that “while I was employed by Mr. Hahn, there was never a bill sent to a client, or a bill
generated from the office”. Testimony of the Respondent and Chris Leonard was that two or three
bills were prepared and sent. Ms. Leonard testified that she prepared two bills within the first two
weeks of her employment with Mr. Hahn, that she did not do those bills correctly and that Mr.
Hahn made the corrections on the bill and explained to her the decimal entry and provided her
with a list of decimal entries. The Respondent and Ms. Blagg testified that Time Slips accounts
and expenses were regularly entered by Blagg and Leonard.
(b) Ms. Blagg, testified “ Mr. Hahn had financial problems caused by his failure to bill
clients”. Ms. Blagg also testified, however, that she and Ms. Leonard would “forget” to make
collection calls for outstanding client payment schedules for which they were responsible. TR. 70.
Ms. Blagg did not deny that she and Ms. Leonard had failed regularly to make collection calls to
clients or that the Respondent had repeatedly addressed this issue with Chris Leonard and Ms.
Blagg. TR. 70; TR. 123-124. Ms. Blagg did not deny nor is there any other evidence presented to
the contrary, as to the witnesses failure to make collection calls contributed to the financial
problems nor was there any contrary evidence that this was not regularly addressed between the
Respondent and the employee’s, including the office meeting of April 29, 2004. TR. 70.
(c) That upon being paid the minimum non-refundable fee in full, that Mr. Hahn ceased
working on a client’s case. Ms. Blagg did not provide any specific client or case for which Mr.
Hahn “ceased working” on after having been paid. She testified that there were “eight clients that
requested their file” but she did not provide testimony on those clients or on their cases; nor did
Ms. Blagg provide the name of any client to which Respondent refused to return the fees “paid by
the client”. The information should have been readily available to Ms. Blagg if it is true. This
information should be readily available to the Informant by the simple expedient of checking Case
Net on those cases filed by Mr. Hahn. The 32nd Judicial Circuit in Cape Girardeau County,
Bollinger County, and Perry County was the first Circuit to implement the “rocket docket” of
computerized scheduling of cases; that the Court Administrator’s Office has a regularly awarded
the Judges of that Circuit recognition for having the fastest criminal and civil docket in the state;
that as the Respondent has testified, cases do not “sit” in the 32nd Judicial Circuit, and that a
continuance without good cause is seldom granted; neither the informant nor it’s witnesses
identified a single case where Mr. Hahn collected the fee and did no work thereafter or failed to
complete the case within a reasonable period of time.
(d) Ms. Blagg claimed that Respondent sat only “three days” for phone conferences and
that they were in three thirty minute segments between 4pm to 5:30pm. Ms. Blagg further
claimed that Mr. Hahn would “keep two out of nine conferences” and also claimed “it could be
several months after a client requested to speak to Mr. Hahn before the client had the opportunity
to speak to Mr. Hahn”. Ms. Blagg and the Informant were unable to produce a single case or
client that met this criteria. Furthermore, the Informant has had in the Informants possession the
“meticulous” time sheets maintained by the Respondent; Introduced into evidence by the
Respondent, as Respondent’s “Exhibit A”, was the desk calendar used by Shannon Blagg to set
the telephone conferences; examination of “Exhibit A” during the months of January to the 1 st of
July, 2004, records prepared by Shannon Blagg herself, and an examination of the time sheets that
were introduced by the Informant, “Exhibit B”, shows that the Respondent regularly returned
client telephone calls to client, that telephone conferences were not limited to merely three days
per week for one and a half hours; that the Respondent regularly scheduled telephone conferences
and office appointments on more than four days per week including Saturday and Sunday, and
regularly occasionally 7pm or later. TR. 112-124
(e) Ms. Blagg stated that Mr. Hahn would “let mail set for days and sometimes weeks
before he would open it. As a result Mr. Hahn would sometimes miss Court appearances or other
crucial deadline”. On cross examination by the Respondent, Ms. Blagg finally admitted that she
could not name one occasion when Mr. Hahn had missed a Court appearance or any other crucial
Court deadline. TR. 150-155. On cross-examination Ms. Blagg admitted that it was her
responsibility to prepare mail list which Mr. Hahn dictated for her on a daily basis. TR. 149.
These mail list were accompanied by a memoranda to put Court appearances on the calendar
which thereafter be entered into the computer system and matched with Ms. Leonard’s calendar
by Ms. Leonard. TR. 149. It was also established by testimony of the Respondent and the cross
examination of Ms. Leonard, that it was Ms. Leonard’s responsibility to do a complete seven day
Case Net search first thing on each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to ensure that no Court
appearance or Court deadline were missed. Ms. Leonard testified that she was not aware of any
such missed deadlines. Respondent has testified that Respondent regularly opens his legal mail as
it was received, dictated a mail list for his secretaries, to type, and dictates letters and memos
concerning said mail each morning. Respondent does not normally review the office accounts
payable, CLE notices, and the large amounts of commercial solicitations that each lawyer receives
until the weekend.
(f) Ms. Blagg also testified under oath in her affidavit and in testimony before the
committee that Mr. Hahn “had no filing system or method of organizing files” and that there was
“only one filing cabinet in Mr. Hahn’s office and it did not contain any files”. She further stated
in her affidavit to the informant and in her testimony that “ client files were stored in banker boxes
throughout the office but there was no organization of these boxes” and that “most files were
strewn about the office”.
(g) Ms. Blagg has made a conscious effort before the Committee to convince the
Committee that the boxes of files depicted in Informant’s “Exhibit 17” pages, 9, 10, and 11 were
the aforesaid open files of the clients that were in a disorganized state. She testified directly, and
unequivocally that this was the “filing room”; the Informant had so labeled their Exhibit on page
9, 10 and 11 as “ the filing room”. TR. 98-100.
The Respondent testified that the room depicted in those three Exhibits is the former suite
occupied by his ex wife and law partner Marcia Mulcahy. That the bulk of the room in question
contains the personal items that he removed from the former marital residence in January 2004.
That each of the boxes in question contained the alphabetized “closed for final billing cases”. The
Respondent testified that after completion of the work on a case, the Respondent dictates a memo
to “close for final billing” each of the completed cases and that the case be put in a “closed for
final billing box” for subsequent billing purposes. As the evidence has clearly established, there
are a large number of these closed but as yet unbilled cases. Shannon Blagg testified that she went
into that room on one occasion prior to the taking of the photographs in question. She testified
that she went in there to “find a paper for Mr. Woodard”. In cross examination, Ms. Blagg was
extremely evasive when questioned by the Respondent as to where the file room for regular cases
in the office was. With great reluctance, she finally admitted that there were three file cabinets in
an office directly across from Chris Leonard’s office. She testified that there was “few files” in
the three, four drawer, file cabinets.
Ms. Leonard on cross examination by the Respondent left the committee in no doubt that
all regular files were kept in the file room directly across from her office on the west end of the
building. She furthermore testified that there were three, four drawer filing cabinets and that they
were “full” of active files. TR. 239-240. She further testified that when she completed work on a
case that she personally would file in it the file draw in alphabetical order.
Furthermore, Ms. Blagg assets that there were “boxes” of client files scattered throughout
the office; This is not supported by the Informants photographs that were obstensively taken
throughout the office for “Ms. Leonard’s family”. Why these two employee’s would need
photographs for “Ms. Leonard’s family”, as her husband was a regular and frequent visitor to the
office, and her daughter lived in Cape Girardeau, and was not an infrequent visitor, is not clear.
What is clear is that no “scattered boxes” were depicted throughout the office, though these two
former employee’s had the opportunity and certainly the motive to photograph them. One box
outside of the “purported filing room” that is photographed “Jim’s office”, page 8 “Exhibit 17”,
appears to contain two or so files. The nature of those files, whether active or closed cases, is
unknown to the parties and there is no evidence otherwise. It has long been the Respondents
procedure to have the files pulled for phone conferences, office appointments and court
appearances two to three days in advance. These cases are taken from the file cabinets, and
placed in wire baskets on a credenza immediately outside the former office of Ms. Leonard.
Respondent then places the files in a bankers box in alphabetical order for review, dictation, and
for court and office appointments. TR. 93-101.
That the photograph number one of “Exhibit 7” shows what appears to be a plastic bag
with clothing on the floor; that photograph 12 shows the item on the table. Obviously someone
moved the item from one position to the other and the purpose for doing so is not clear. That the
photograph of the front office, “Exhibit 1705” of Ms. Blagg’s desk. TR. 101-105. The desk is
carefully organized wi th two file baskets turned curiously at a 45-degree angle towards the
photographer. In the lower left hand corner, is a file basket that on cross-examination by the
Respondent of Ms. Blagg, Ms. Blagg admitted is one of the four, eight-inch deep file baskets that
was on that side table, which she had failed to file before her final day on July 1, 2004. TR. 101-
105. The witnesses were careful to photograph the stacks of paper in the conference room, but
curiously did not photograph the total of eight, eight-inch deep file baskets and one cardboard box
that the Respondent testified were accumulated during the witnesses 4-month employment.
POINTS RELIED UPON
The deportment, resolve, and demeanor of the witness should be considered in these
circumstances. Whether the testimony provided by the two former employees, Chris Leonard and
Shannon Blagg, was motivated by spite or “professionalism”, as Ms. Blagg repeatedly asserted,
can be an issue of debate. What is clear, is that disputes and conflicts quickly arose between the
Respondent and Chris Leonard in their professional relationship, and, thereafter, between the
Respondent and Ms. Blagg. During the course of these disputes important matters such as filing
normally done by legal assistants, were not done. The only explanation provided by either legal
assistant, was that Chris Leonard said, “it was to much”.
Ms. Blagg had testified that the Respondent had let her into the storage area to look for
paperwork on Mr. Woodard’s file. This is the room that Ms. Blagg purposely mislead the
Committee and the Informant to believe was the “file room”. The testimony of both former staff
members was that they took photographs of the room, which Chris Leonard knew, had nothing to
do with the condition of the files in the filing room across from her office. In the testimony of the
Respondent, the three doors to that complex were locked with security locks that had been
installed by the Respondent’s former wife and that the only two keys to that complex were on the
Respondents key ring and a key in his desk. That the Respondent testified that he had stored in
the room depicted as the “filing room” approximately 40 firearms and that the room was kept
locked at all times. The Respondent also testified under oath that the he had located documents of
a personal nature including the law suit between he and his former wife, a bar complaint, and
other financial papers that Chris Leonard had taken and photocopied from personal files in the
Respondent’s desk. The Respondent also testified that in April and thereafter he had determined
that Chris Leonard was regularly using the high speed Internet connection for personal use
thereby exposing his computer network to viruses and other malicious software. The Respondent
testified that he had advised Chris Leonard in his initial meeting with her at the office on March 1,
2004, that she was not to use the Internet for any personal use. Furthermore she denied that the
Respondent had advised her that the only Internet site that she was to use was the Case Net of the
Missouri Judiciary. Considering the well documented unhappy circumstances of the Respondent
with regard to previous computer crashes of his system in 2002 and 2003, perhaps caused by
viruses, as documented by the Informant through prior statements and sworn testimony of the
Respondent, Ms. Leonard’s actions, and activities during her employment were questionable and
testimony in this regard is questionable. It should be noted that the spare key to the above suite,
two (2) disposable cameras, both secretarial telephone pads were found missing after Ms. Blagg’s
Ms. Blagg also described “three incidents” in June 2004, which “made me leave Jim
(a) Respondent denied ever telling Ms. Blagg at any time to tell a client not to come back
to the office; the client had a scheduled telephone conference at 5pm and came in about 10
minutes before 5pm and the Respondent was with another client. Mr. Woodard had a telephone
conference scheduled at 5pm. Respondent advised Mr. Woodard that Respondent would call him
upon his return to home as Respondent was running late with the other client; Respondent called
Mr. Woodard within 30 minutes and discussed the matter.
(b) Mr. Blagg claimed that there was false information in an unemployment contest letter
that Respondent dictated. There was absolutely nothing false concerning the information
provided. Ms. Blagg simply did not want the letter to be typed and she either stole the tape or
(c) Respondent informed each legal assistant when they are hired that it may be necessary to
work after the regular scheduled time to complete a task. Respondent had a response to a letter
from the OCDC that was due that date and Respondent dictated a response that was comparatively
short, to the point, and truthful. At no time did the Respondent go to the outside entrances and
lock the door nor did the Respondent advise Ms. Blagg that she could “not leave until I finished
the dictation”. At no time by did the Respondent threaten Ms. Blagg. Ms. Blagg at all times had
a key to unlock the door and leave if she so chose. She had no absolutely no objection at that time
to completing the task which was done before 6pm. This was the only overtime that Ms. Blagg
was ever requested to perform.
Chris Leonard testified that she had sent a letter to the Respondent, thanking him for the
“generous salary” that she received and learning the “procedures” that Respondent utilized in the
office. Ms. Leonard further testified that she has introduced the procedures at her new place of
None of the allegations made by Ms. Blagg address the principal issue in Count VI,
whether Mr. Hahn knowingly misrepresented any information to the Informant or to the Supreme
Court. On February 18, 2004, Respondent advised the Informant of the work that Tim Mellitz
had done for the cost of $5,000.00 in training staff, and revising the various data bases, and
purchasing a calendaring system known as Time Matters. The staff in the office from July of
2003 until January 2004 had been trained in the program by a prior employee and the staff had
entered all payment and all expense payments up until February 2004. All of these were
necessary to resuming the monthly billing cycle. Shannon Blagg entered payments and expenses
until she left. On February 14, 2004 Respondent hired Chris Leonard, who represented that she
had four years of experience and was very knowledgeable with the Time Slips billing program.
The Respondent’s income had improved during the course of the previous months due to the
excellent collection procedures utilized by the prior staff. Concurrently, however, the overhead
had risen significantly during the same period rising from a $650.00 mortgage payment per month
to $1,595.00 per month in February 2004, due to the purchase of the building and the refinancing
of the building. The other expenses concurrently rose. It would be counter intuitive to believe
that the Respondent did not want to bill his outstanding accounts. People seldom want to work for
free or for a discount. On February 18,2004, Respondent believed that the system problems that
had existed previously had been resolved in September 2003 and the staff training problems with
the Time Slips billing program were resolved with the work of Mr. Mellitz and by the hiring of
Chris Leonard, based on her representation of four years of experience with the program. Ms.
Leonard’s inability to even enter in simple slip data on March 19, 2004, clearly indicated to
Respondent that she did not have the experience and training with the program that she had
represented at the time of her interview. Ms. Leonard’s absence of knowledge of even the most
basic entry of data into the individual time slip, even with the manual and the Time Slips tutorial
available to her during that first 2 weeks, clearly indicated to Respondent that she was not likely
to be able to complete the more difficult procedures of printing review bills, making corrections
and printing final bills like some previous legal assistants, who were unable to produce an
accurate bill, make corrections in a bill, and properly finalize a legal services bill. The
Respondents surprise and severe disappointment of that day, and increasingly thereafter, grew into
a distrust of Ms. Leonard’s intentions and commitment to the Respondent.
Respondent asserts that Respondent acted in good faith and truthfully in all
representations to the Informant and to the Supreme Court on February 18, 2004; Respondent
further asserts, as noted by the Informant, that Respondent had admitted various allegations in the
Count and has truthfully provided information on each of those prior complaints.
It is has not been the Respondent’s intent to spurn the efforts of the Informant.
Respondent was deeply appreciative of the diversion opportunity. Respondent was provided with
the name and address of a consultant in Springfield, Missouri who Respondent had in fact heard
an excellent presentation from at the Small Firm seminar in June of 2003. Respondent has always
been desirous of improving his practice. For that reason he has regularly attended the Small Firm
seminar prior to the entering into the diversion program. Were it not for the more than doubling
of the office overhead, the expense of approximately $10,000.00 to retain legal counsel and to pay
for Mediation in the law suits that began the first week of August and ended in January 2004 with
the closing on the building, Respondent would have happily paid for said consultation.
Respondent did consult with Doctor V.S. Kamath, and followed his recommendation of reducing
his practice significantly from 225 cases per year to 125 cases. Because of the representations of
two former disgruntled employees, what had been previously viewed as an administrative
problems in the office, has now been viewed as a personal attack on Respondent integrity and
honesty. Representations made in page 24, the Informant’s trial brief, that “after Respondent
entered into joint stipulation, he continued to take significant retainers from client’s, and then
failed to complete the work for the client’s”. These allegations are no more true than Ms. Blaggs
assertions that the electricity had been cut off. The same former employees made representations
that Court appearances were missed and other important deadlines were missed, yet provided
absolutely no proof to this Committee that in fact said events occurred. There were no missed
court appearances or deadlines. The former employee testified that “Respondent routinely failed
to communicate with clients and failed to diligently work on the clients matter”. What evidence
was provided concerning “routinely failed to communicate with client’s and failed to diligently
work on the client’s matter”. Much has been made about the Respondent’s procedures for setting
telephone conferences. Testimony provided by the Respondent is that a minimum of three
afternoons conferences is set aside for telephone conferences during the course of the week.
Three phone conferences are normally set in the “block” with 72-business hour notice. If a
current client has an “emergency” the staff member answering the phone is to take a brief
description of what that emergency is and to have the client immediately put through to the
Respondent. An examination of the two and a half years of Time Sheets provided a year ago to
the Informant, and “Exhibit A”, the calendar for 2004 for the office receptionist, clearly
establishes a consistent pattern of frequent and constant communication with the Respondent’s
clients. These documents clearly establish that the Respondent works long hours consistently
putting in 50 hours or more per week working on the client’s work. They further consistently
show, if they are examined, that the Respondent is available to his client for prearranged
telephone conferences and office appointments for longer hours than most general practitioners in
the area maintain hours.
The Informant inferred in the brief that upon receipt of a “significant ” retainer that simply
no work is done beyond that point. Examination of the time sheets, “Exhibit A”, and the review
of Case Net will clearly indicate that that is not the “Respondent’s routine”. The purpose of the
Respondent’s telephone and office scheduling policy are not to avoid client contact nor to avoid
client work, but to ensure each client’s matter is handled at a time when the Respondent has his
full attention on that matter, and after an opportunity to review the file. Only then, does an
attorney fully address the issues and questions of the client. The telephone conference or office
appointment is well prepared in order to address the client’s questions and issues. The Respondent
asserts that at no time a client had to wait “weeks” to talk to the Respondent nor has at any time
only “two out of nine” phone conferences been kept. A through review of the time sheets,
“Exhibit A”, will clearly show that there is no “pattern of misconduct with several clients”.
It is Respondents recollection now, as it was when Respondent reviewed the Stipulation on May
28, 2004, that Respondent had given an accurate description of the steps that Respondent has
taken in many regular billing programs. Respondent is certain that Respondent mentioned the
work with Mr. Melitz and Respondent knows that Respondent mentioned that Respondent hired
Chris Leonard four days before and that she was going to starting on March 1, 2004 and that she
professed to have expertise with the Time Slips billing program. As well, Respondent advised
Informant that Doctor Kamth had prescribed Zoloft, and that Respondent had had some very
positive developments in Respondents personal life. Respondent formed a new relationship,
exercised, and took more time off. Respondents goal when Respondent returned to his office in
July 2003, was meeting with my staff of two years, Laura Hulsy, Shelly Ashcroft. Respondent
was very eager to immediantly apply the new skills of the billing program during the course of
this meeting, Respondent and staff discussed the unofficial flex schedule that both staff members
had been following, and the problems that the office would have if they took the amount of time
off in the month of August for various activities that they had requested on my return.
Laura’s departure at the end of July and Shelly’s two -weeks later, Respondent hired two new
staff members. Shelly Ashcroft provided training on the Time Slips billing program.
One week after this occurred, my wife filed the lawsuit mentioned in the Respondents brief.
Respondent spent the next six months in an exhausting and constant attempt to not only meet the
requirements of that diversion program but also the requirements of the two law suits which could
effectively ended Respondents law practice by taking o ver the building.
Between the meeting with the Disciplinary Counsel on February 18, 2004, and the receipt of
May 28, 2004 of the joint stipulation, were my disappointments in March with Chris Leonard’s
inability to properly enter the time entries on the first two bills that I gave her. Respondent
discussed with Ruth Shrum, a temporary secretary with excellent skills, working in the evenings
and on the weekends on the billing process. Ruth Shrum, in late March or early April, she advised
me that she had acquired a position at Federal Express at night and would not be available during
the day, and not on the weekends due to the changed custody arrangement that she had entered
into with her previous husband. I had only two workstations available on the network,
Respondent believed that neither Shannon Blagg or Chris Leonard could produce an accurate
billing based on my observations.
As far as the two or three hour meeting on February 18, 2004, Respondent had arranged a
conversation with Ms. Rippenger on a variety of issues. The meeting was attended by her
paralegal, Dori Ann DeCook. Respondents recollection is that Respondent pointed out each of the
actions that Respondent had taken up to the particular time, training in Time Slips and simplifying
the Time Slips billing program. The work was done by Mr. Melitz as Respondent had advised Ms.
Rippenger. Respondent also advised that the current staff member, most importantly, Respondent
advised that Respondent had hired Chris Leonard, a former legal secretary with four years of
experience with Time Slips and she was to start on March 1, 2004. Shannon Blagg, had been
opening Time Slips files, and entering payments and expenses. Respondent advised that Ms.
Shrum, an exceptional typist with considerable knowledge of computer software, would be an
asset to the firm in the months to come. Respondent finally believed that he had resolved the
problem that had arisen in January 2003, when Respondents ex-wife announced that her secretary
would no longer handle Respondents time entries and billing. However, at that meeting Ms.
DeCook would write three words on her pad “currently billing clients”, had I known that, I would
certainly have asked her to change it to “will resume monthly billing within the next month.”
Those three words were not my words, though the Respondent certainly wished it could have been
When Respondent left the meeting, Respondent felt that both Ms. Rippenger was pleased with
the efforts that Respondent had made and the anticipated results that would follow. Respondent
had a marked increase of income, over the previous months due to the excellent collection efforts
and procedures that were adopted by Ms. Ullery and her assistant. The increase in revenues was
provided solely by prompt collection efforts on a regular basis on agreed periodic payments on
minimum fee retainer. The largest majority of the Respondents cases were settled near or under
the minimum fee retainer. In paragraph 24, in the joint stipulation three months after the
meeting, Respondent well realized the significant changed circumstances existed at that time,
from those of February 2004. Respondent had a bitter meeting on April 29, 2004 with both
Shannon Blagg and Chris Leonard, when Respondent advised them that they would not be with
Respondent if they did not change their collection practices, filing, and their general work attitude.
Respondent had been making the collection calls himself in early April with success. This kept
Respondent working until 7 or 7:30 each evening making calls on the partial payments. The vast
majority of Respondents cases are at or near the minimum fee. While Respondent does not now
have a specific recollection of the relative importance of the billing provisions with regard to the
document as whole, Respondent has always understood that the general intent of our
conversations and the agreement was to improve Respondents revenue by collection of fees owed.
That I was successfully doing this myself by phone, in lieu of a competent legal assistant.
The Supreme Court should not discipline Respondent by disbarment.
After consideration of all of the aggravating and mitigating factors, with Respondents cooperation
with Disciplinary authorities, and Respondents willingness to accept sanctions, the existence of
substantial mitigating factors found by the Committee, indicate that disbarment is not an
Respondents alleged conduct is not normally subject to disbarment; there are no
allegations in theft of clients assets, nor ex parte communication with Judges, or other attorney’s
clients, or wonton conduct that has caused injury to client.
However, disbarment is reserved only for cases of severe misconduct where it is clear the attorney
is not fit to continue in the profession. In Re Tacket, Respondent, No. SC 86522(159 S. W.3d
846);Crews, Respondent, SC 86212 (159 S. W.3d 355); In Re Waldron, Respondent, No.
70107(790 S. W.2d 456)
Respondent respectfully offers to the Court his profound regrets that he has not adhered to the
highest standards of the Bar, and suggests to the Court that the appropriate action, after
considering all of the mitigating circumstances, is a six month suspension, stayed, and completion
of the terms of the original stipulation.
The Respondent respectfully submits that that the evidence in the hearing, after consideration of
all of the circumstances at the time in question, does not justify the sanctions recommended by the
James W. Hahn II, #31728
2858 Professional Court
P.O. Box 862
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701
(573) 651-0299 facsimile
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I do hereby certify that on this 23rd day of September, 2005, two copies of Respondents brief
and a copy of the diskette containing the brief have been sent in hand delivery:
Nancy L. Ripperger
3335 American Avenue
Jefferson City, Missouri 65109
James W. Hahn II
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE WITH RULE 84.06 (C)
Undersigned counsel hereby certifies that this brief complies with the requirements of
Rule 84.06 (b) in that it contains 10,739 words. Disks were prepared using Norton Anti-Virus and
were scanned and certified as virus free.
James W. Hahn II # 31728
Hahn Law Firm
2858 Professional Court
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701